HJ MUSE 06: Ali Heiss of Amarilo & Haati Chai Jewelry
The harly jae muse is our written offering which brings to you the life and stories of the intentional women who wear our clothes. We want to share with you who they are, what their influences are and what their deepest hopes & dreams are made of.
“Because she competes with no one, no one competes with her.” These are the words Ali Heis has lived by while building her jewellery lines Amarilo and later Haati Chai.
After becoming infatuated with jewelry and design at a young age, she embraced her mother’s ambitious attitude and began selling her designs around the neighbourhood. From there, this passion continued as she worked her way through college and organically grew Amarilo into the brand it is today.
Ali has always abided by a minimalist philosophy - removing the non-essential and making a conscious effort to focus on what really matters in life. While her journey hasn’t always been easy, she has proven to herself that she can do anything — and she hopes to inspire others in embracing their true selves too.
Read on to discover the woman that she is...
1. Take us back to what has been your journey into becoming the woman that you are today?
It’s definitely been a journey. I think one memory that really stands out was my mom telling me that if I want something, I have to work for it. My mom adopted my siblings and I at an early age, but then unfortunately went through a terrible divorce when we were toddlers. Witnessing my mom struggle as a single mom was very eye opening. She sacrificed so much for us. She didn’t have any friends, she worked 3 jobs, but she still told us we could do anything we wanted, as long as we were independent and hard working. I like to think that I learned something from her struggles. She’s the greatest woman I have ever known in my entire life.
2. What is your favourite part of the day, perhaps a daily ritual that feeds your soul?
My favorite part of the day is in the morning. Drinking a hot cup of coffee before anyone is in the office is truly a slice of heaven, only one competing with snagging a cuddle in with my dog. I also love ending the day by going ice skating. I really love figure skating because as I mature, it’s easy to throw myself into work and forget that I have other things, which is something I have done vigilantly in my 20s. I just went back to figure skating a few months ago, and it's a simple reminder that I can do anything.
3. How do you approach wearing the many hats an entrepreneur has to juggle?
I wish I could say that I’m amazing at multi tasking, but unfortunately I’m not. I have to work on one or two projects at a time. It’s a little frustrating because I can’t always relish in closing the door of a task at the end of each day, but I remind myself it’s the larger projects that are going to really help make a change in the business. So as long as I can close the door at the end of the week, month or year, that makes up for it!
4. Tell us about the Amarilo woman, who wears your jewelry?
The Amarilo woman is a kind woman, and a little spunky. Her style is probably minimalistic, but cares deeply about quality. She’s a thoughtful person to herself and to others, and indulges only when she is truly passionate.
5. What does living intentionally mean to you?
Intentional lifestyle means something that you can look back on and be proud of yourself.
6. What kind of music do you listen to at the office?
I love Spotify! Everyone on our team has different tastes, but in general we like it all. I’m currently on a Queen kick right now.
7. I remember following the early beginning of Amarilo on Instagram, this was before strong brand aesthetics were considered a standard for any brand on Instagram. How did you know so early on that creating a strong visual brand would lead the brand to be what it is today and to be adopted by celebrities?
It’s pretty simple actually in theory, and harder to execute! It did take awhile to grow into our visual voice. Amarilo jewelry is dainty, and can easily be swallowed up if not merchandised correctly, online or even in person! My partner Stella is the creative director for both brands, and she’s done a wonderful job highlighting what matters, the women wearing the jewelry, and the pieces themselves.
8. You joined forces with Stella Simona in 2017, how do you approach co-creating and how do you two complete each other?
Instead of trying to do it all together, we thought it would be smarter to use each of our skill sets to each other’s brands advantage. We have made it a point to learn each other’s brands so that we work on each brand in our given areas, we never compromise the vision or overstep what each other would want.
That’s why our roles are gently split, where I oversee most of production, and Stella oversees a lot of the creative direction.
9. Lastly, for fun, what is your favourite harly jae outfit & how would you style it?
Wow, fun question! My favorite piece I actually own! The Pierrot jacket is everything. I love wearing it with simple lines and colors. Just like our jewelry, when the quality is so high, the design will truly speak for itself. My dream closet is the entire harly jae collection.